What lockdown means to homemovers

We’ve been spending more time at home than ever before and it’s fair to say it’s caused a lot of itchy feet. You’re realising your house is too small, or too big, or not in the place you really want it to be, or that you simply can’t accommodate all the changes to work, family or social life.

Here at The Cumberland, we’ve been seeing everything from mortgage requests for full-blown relocations to remortgaging enquiries as people decide to invest in that loft conversion or house extension. We’ve also had people asking about borrowing to help their children get on the property ladder as they decide to move out, or get out of the rental market.

But can you still buy and sell a house in lockdown, or get the builders in for that renovation work? The answer is definitely yes. 

Estate agents may have changed the way they do things – like doing virtual tours of the property, or ensuring social distancing during viewings – but you can still find your dream home, even while the pandemic is ongoing. 

Where to go for up-to-date information

There is some reassuring detail here from the HomeOwners Alliance, and here from the consumer magazine Which?, and the government website has lots of information too. Meanwhile, the Federation of Master Builders has this advice about construction work. Removal firms are still allowed to operate, solicitors are still doing their conveyancing work, and it’s definitely business as usual for The Cumberland’s mortgage teams.

We’re used to working remotely – around a fifth of our customers aren’t even based in Cumbria or south west Scotland where our branches are – so you can be assured your purchase or remortgage will run smoothly, wherever you are.

You can book a telephone appointment online and we’ll give you a call to confirm. Then you need to get some important information together before our meeting so that we can help you as quickly and efficiently as possible.  

How to get a mortgage during lockdown

Ryan Patterson is the manager of The Cumberland’s national lending team and he’s put together his top tips for making your mortgage or remortgage process run as smoothly as possible.

  1. Be prepared 

We’ll send you a checklist of all the information we’re going to need so make sure you have that to hand

  1. Know your numbers

We’re definitely going to ask you about your salary and income, and your big outgoings, like a car loan or a credit card debt, so have those numbers ready for us

  1. Think ahead

If you know you’re getting a pay rise, or a period of maternity leave is about to end, or you’re about to increase your hours at work, let us know

  1. Be honest with yourself about your income

Bonuses and expenses don’t count as they can change at any time

  1. Know roughly how much you want to borrow

You don’t need to have found the perfect house yet, but check out suitable properties in the area you like to see how much they are selling for

  1. Have a maximum purchase price in mind

We’ll tell you exactly how much you can afford once we have your financial details but it helps if you have an idea of what you want to spend

  1. Be realistic about your deposit

You need to factor in stamp duty (if that applies), your solicitor’s costs, removal costs and any mortgage arrangement fees that may need to come out of your pot of savings

  1. Be open to advice

We’re great at giving financial advice so don’t worry if you’re not in a position to buy right at this moment – for example, we may say ‘if you do X, Y or Z, like paying off a credit card or cutting your outgoings, you will be ready to buy in six months’ time’

  1. Don’t be scared to get in touch 

There’s no such thing as a daft question. It’s what we’re here for! And there are plenty of ways to contact one of The Cumberland team.

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